For its stars, sport programming means school and job offers
The grand finale of Facebook’s Hacker Cup, held at the company’s Menlo Park (California) headquarters, doesn’t exactly look like the Super Bowl. At four rows of wheeled white desks in a drab, -all-purpose event room, about 25 young men—yes, all men—hook up their laptops to big flatscreen monitors and put a notepad and pencil to one side. None of them appear to spend much time at the gym, but all are fierce competitors in the niche world of sport programming. The Facebook event, like most such contests, consists of a series of logic puzzles that must be solved using the most efficient, -fastest-running code. National and international -sport-programming competitions have been around since the late 1970s, typically organised by universities and international nonprofits like Unesco. Silicon Valley has begun using them as a farm system only in the past few years. Google and Facebook, which began hosting its annual Hacker Cup in 2011, fly in -computer-science-minded youngsters from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Asia to face off against locals and one another for cash prizes, enjoy some free sushi, and meet with Valley recruiters.